Are you thinking of getting a cat or kitten? Whether you are a newcomer (a person that has never had a cat) or an old cat person (age does not matter) let's explore life living with a cat.
A cat is not a dog. A cat will never react as a dog would when greeting you on your arrival home. However, that does not take away from the sincerity of your cat's feeling for you.
Did you know that cats have been around for about 50 million years and have lived everywhere on earth except Antarctica? There are more than 65 million cats living in American homes. Cats out rank dogs as the number one domestic pet.
Cats are considered to be one of the most intelligent of all domestic animals. Granted they do not do "dog tricks," but with patience you can teach a cat many tricks.
Cats are carnivores, which means they are meat eaters. A cat cannot be a vegetarian, as vegetables do not provide the protein and other vitamins a cat needs to survive.
Having a pet, be it a cat or dog, is rather like getting married. First you get engaged (getting to know one another) then you get married (sharing your everyday life) and then hopefully live happily ever after. That statement gives you an idea of the commitment necessary when you decide to get a cat. This "long term" obligation deserves serious thought.
Cats live a long time. My Mr. Whiskers lived for 18 years. A normal life span for a cat can be from 12 to 20 some odd years. So commitment has to be one of your first thoughts.
Can you commit? Granted no one knows what the future may bring and there are circumstances that may alter your life's plan. The question here is, barring anything unforeseen, are you willing to make the commitment?
If you are looking for a "short term" relationship forget it. The animal shelters and streets are filled with unwanted cats that people have left to fend for themselves.
Having made the decision to get a cat or a kitten. You need to take some time to consider your lifestyle, finances and how much free time you will have to devote to your cat. Yes, cats do sleep a lot, but they need playtime and your time.
Do you have regular business hours or are you on a schedule that is erratic? Cats like routine.
Does your job or current lifestyle cause you to travel a great deal? If you do travel, do you have someone reliable to become the second caregiver for your cat?
Do you currently have another pet? Have you taken into consideration the time it will take to introduce the new arrival to your current pet? Are you on a tight budget? A cat or kitten costs money. There are vet visits, food, toys, grooming supplies and litter to buy.
No matter how tired you are when you come home from work your cat or kitten will need care and some of your time. Remember that your cat has been home all day by itself. I have 3 cats and I work plus I have a husband (all of whom require a great deal of time and care.) I know the value of available time and how it can be frustrating when time seems to be fleeting. Keep this in mind as you mull over your decision to get a cat or kitten.
You have made your decision and you are really going to get a cat/kitten. Where do you go to find your cat? Shelters are a good source, especially if you are looking for an older cat. Shelters usually have a surplus of kittens, too. Breeders are also a great place to look if you are looking for a particular breed of cat. Friends and neighbors often have kittens available.
Do not under any circumstance go anywhere on the "spur of the moment" or on an "impulse" to get a cat or kitten.
Right here and now take a deep breath and make this promise to yourself: " I will take my time, I will not be impulsive. I will visit with each cat or kitten to see which one likes me and which one I am attracted to."
Shelters have rooms where you can visit each cat by itself. Breeders will let you have time to visit and play with each kitten and certainly your friends and neighbors will be delighted to give you all the time you need and want.
One thing to keep in mind is if you are holding a cat or kitten and it tries to get away from you, do not take it. Find a cat or kitten that relaxes, possibly purrs and feels at ease with you. That cat will be a winner and you both will be a happy pair.
If you have decided on a kitten and can afford the time and money, two kittens are better than one. Two will entertain themselves while you are at work and two will definitely entertain you when you are home. Of course, it is also double trouble.
If you are looking for someone a little more settled may I suggest an older cat. By older I mean a cat that is at least one year old or more. Shelters are full of older cats. Many people move and cannot take their cats. Some people for a variety of reasons have to give up their cats. These cats are truly the "pearls" of catdom." These cats will appreciate a new loving home. They will love you with all their hearts. Take your time in picking one out. Again, find one that feels at ease with you, possibly purrs and that you feel comfortable with.
In deciding whether to get a male or female, the choice is really a matter of preference. I currently have 2 males and a female. I find the males more affectionate. My female is very independent. All three are offspring of feral mothers.
It is very important if you are looking for a kitten to be certain the kitten has been socialized. A socialized cat will be one that has been lovingly handled, played with, has been around people and other animals outside the litter and children. A cat that has not been socialized will be afraid of people and literally scared of everything.
My Boots is my 11-year-old Tuxedo cat that was not socialized as a kitten and he is scared of his own shadow. My brother gave shelter to a feral female cat that had 3 kittens. He did not have time to socialize them. I took Boots at 9 weeks, but it was already too late to really make him feel comfortable. Both his mother and father were feral cats and that may be the reason he is so skittish.
In spite of all his problems, when the mood strikes him, he is the most lovable cat I have known. It takes a great deal of patience on my part to deal with his problems on a daily basis, as every day his reactions to some of the same things change. However, my husband and I for some reason love him best.
While you have been in the "getting a cat" thinking mood, you also should have been thinking of finding a veterinarian. This person is going to become an important part of your cat's life and yours.
You need to visit several clinics, talk to the vet (your personalities need to mesh) and find out if the hours they are open coincides with your work schedule.
Once you have your cat or kitten it is a good idea to take your pet to your vet for a check up. This is especially important if you have another cat at home. You do not want to bring home any unwanted diseases or infections. If your kitten has not been started on its kitten shots; this would be a good time to start.
If you are bringing a kitten home be certain to get all the feeding information. It is important that you feed your kitten the food it is used to and hopefully you will be able to keep the same feeding schedule.
A kitten up to 12 weeks of age needs to be fed at least 4 times a day and sometimes more if they are small eaters. Kittens have very small tummies and need to eat often.
Be certain you feed your kitten only food made specifically for kittens. Do not feed adult food to a kitten. Kitten food is made with all the necessary vitamins and minerals a kitten needs to grow into a beautiful cat. From 3 months to about 6 or 7 months feeding your cat 3 times a day seems to be enough. However, it really depends on the cat. Some cats are grazers (mine are) and like to eat small amounts at a time, but often. This is where a good quality dry food is a blessing. Dry food is available for kittens. Be certain you buy a high quality brand and not something inexpensive.
After the 7th month you can begin a twice a day, morning and night schedule. I feed my cats 3 times a day even though they are older. They are used to it and it fits my work schedule. I leave dry food out all the time and feed them wet food (canned or foil packets) at their feeding times. As you and your cat bond your, feeding routines will work themselves out. Kitty will be certain to tell you what it wants and when.
This article is just the tip of the iceberg in the continuing relationship between you and your cat. If this article has been of benefit, please visit my web site and blog at http://www.cats-and-dogs-on-the-web.com for more information an life with a cat or kitten.